Religious Education

What is Religious Education?

RE, or Religious Education, is an academic course of study that has two components.

  • Students are able to study a variety of World Religions - Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. The beliefs, values, rituals, social structures, sacred texts, symbols, religious experiences and ethics that comprise these values are presented.
  • Values Education provides students with tools to analyse the complex ethical and moral dilemmas that exist in modern society. While Religious and Values education have traditionally been the preserve on non-secular schools in Australia, there is a growing awareness of their importance in making sense of an ever more complex world. The need to combat the rising tide of individualism and consumerism for the benefit of society requires us to be able to have some foundation on which to base our actions. In Britain, Religious Education has been a compulsory subject in state schools since the mid-1990's, and the numbers of students choosing to sit formal examinations in it continue to rise.

Why do we teach Religious Studies?

  • Approximately 95% of the population of the world have some belief.
  • There are about 1 billion Catholics in the world.
  • There are about 1 billion Muslims in the world.
  • The history of the world over the past 5000 years has been so affected by religion that it is impossible to fully understand history without having knowledge of different religions.
  • There are many countries today where religion and politics cannot be untangled.
  • Different opinions on current issues today, such as abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering and cloning, arise due to different ethical viewpoints.
  • When students leave school and travel they are obliged to be tolerant towards other religions and cultures. Therefore, they need an understanding of them.
  • If we want to understand our world, we need to understand the people around us.
  • We are a Catholic school.

So the question should be: Why wouldn't we teach Religious Studies?

Because we are a Catholic school, the Catholic ethos is present in everything we teach. Our teaching staff are some of the most qualified and experienced teachers of Religious Education in the state, and 2013 proved the dedication and hard work of both them and the students when St Brendan-Shaw College students received some of the highest marks in the state for Studies of Religion at pre-tertiary level.

All students in Years 7 to 10 participate in the College's Liturgical life, Reflection Day program, and complete a course of Religious Studies as summarized below:

Year 7 Religious Studies

  • What is Religion?
  • Founders
  • God
  • Jesus Christ
  • The Bible
  • Morals and Ethics
  • Catholicism

Year 8 Religious Studies

  • The Big Myth (Creation and our responsibility towards it)
  • Little Lies: Big Effects (Choices and their consequences)
  • Destination: Israel 30 CE (The setting of Jesus' life)
  • Believe It or Not (Religions, and in particular Christianity, in Australia)

Year 9 Values and Traditions in Society

  • The Big Question (Elements of Religion)
  • Sabbath and Synagogue (Judaism)
  • Value Added Life (Values)
  • Dreaming of the Future (Aboriginal Spirituality)
  • On a Journey (Pilgrimage)

Year 10 Religion and Philosophy

  • Mark's Gospel
  • Islam
  • Social Justice
  • Morality and Current ethical issues

Year 11 and 12 Religious Education

In Years 11 and 12, all Senior Secondary students also participate in the Religious Education curriculum at St Brendan-Shaw College. This programme includes TQA courses, the Year 11 Leadership Camp (Tir na nOg) and the Year 12 Retreat. Opportunities for participation in Liturgy and Pastoral Outreach initiatives are also provided.

In the classroom, students are required to complete a religious education course in Year 11. There is no compulsion to do so in Year 12. Students elect to study either a pre-Tertiary course (Studies of Religion TQA3) or one of three non pre-Tertiary courses. They are:

  • Religion in Society
  • Youth Ministry and Spirituality & Community Service Learning
  • Making Moral Decisions & Community Service Learning

It is important to note that only the Studies of Religion TQA3 course provides input to a Tertiary Entrance (TE) score. Further information about these subjects and Religious Education options for Senior Secondary students can be found in the online subject handbook.

These TQA subjects open a window into different ways to view the world. They help students to appreciate the diversity and richness of life, and help them to develop their own capacity for ethical decision making. Such skills and insights will prove invaluable for students pursuing a range of careers, as well as nourishing their own personal and spiritual development.

The compulsory Year 11 Leadership Camp and Year 12 Retreat are excellent opportunities for students to explore issues in an informal and relaxed atmosphere away from the school. They are traditionally well received, especially the three day residential Retreat which is a highlight of the students' lives at St Brendan-Shaw College.

Every staff member takes responsibility for the ethical formation of students in a Catholic school, either indirectly in their every-day dealings with them, or more directly in the classroom. Thankfully, the importance of such a responsibility is recognized by all staff at St Brendan-Shaw College, and they are affirmed in the work that they do.

Mr Kamil Douglas
Coordinator of Ministry and religious Education